tv The Ed Show MSNBC May 4, 2011 1:00am-2:00am EDT
central from dead bin laden, he'll never be another bin laden. in the week of good things that it sometimes feels awkward to call good, that would be a good thing. thanks for joining us tonight. now it's time for "the ed show." osama bin laden is still dead and republicans are freaking out because they are losing the conversation and the political advantage when it comes to national security. this is "the ed show." let's get to work. >> those who say water boarding doesn't work, they say it should be stopped, we got vital information from it. >> republicans just can't give the president the credit he deserves for killing bin laden. tonight, i'll show them the facts. osama bin laden is dead. what are we still doing in afghanistan? i'll ask jer me scahill and robert greenwald. the cia has pictures of a dead osama bin laden.
great to have you with us here tonight on "the ed show." this is the story that has me fired up first. republicans are desperately trying to steal the spotlight from obama over the termination of osama bin laden. conservatives are scrambling to put national security back on the table. they are lining up to credit bush's torture policies for the information that led to the death of bin laden. >> we don't find this guy until 2007. we got it through enhanced interrogations then they found the real identity, then they found the guy, which led to this. without strong interrogations, we wouldn't be here. >> yesterday was a testment to the military's dedication and hunting down an enemy through
many years of war. we thank our president. we thank president bush for having made the right calls to set up this victory. >> the tools president bush put into place, gitmo, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the effort to get the information and put it in a usable form served his successor quite well. >> i don't know, folks, anybody playing a violin? do you see a pattern here? it's not going to stop. king took it to another level on o'reilly's show. >> you mentioned we obtained vital information years ago. we obtained it through water boarding. for those who say it doesn't work and should be stopped and not used again, we got vital information. key information we got on a very, very vital thing. >> that is fascinating. you are not going to hear that on the other networks, i guarantee you. >> absolutely fascinating. let's talk about illegal
activities tonight, huh? republicans want to argue about water boarding instead of covering one of the military's greatest achievements since world war ii. it's time to get facts. first of all, let's look at this. water boarding is illegal. the geneva convention says it's illegal, the attorney general, the president of the united states says it's illegal and he happens to be a constitutional lawyer. water boarding, fact number one is illegal. so, i guess across the street, they are promoting illegal acti activity. what about the moral high ground we were talking act during the campaign, how america was going to grab the moral high ground again and show our enemies that we do not torture? president obama doesn't use enhanced interrogation. that is also a fact. press secretary confirmed that saying we will not use torture. he said it today.
>> can you say if there's been any change in president obama's opposition to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. >> no change what so ever. >> no change what so ever. it's a fact. increased drone strikes. you mean to tell me that guy named barack obama who was going to go after the terrorists is ordering more drone strikes in his first year than president bush did in his entire two terms? wow. that's a heck of a stat, isn't it? of course, president obama kept his promise. president obama made this promise at the second presidential debate in october of 2008 before the election. >> what i said is, we are going to encourage democracy in pakistan, expand our non-military aid to pakistan so they have more of a stake in working with us but insisting
they go after these militants and if we have osama bin laden in our sights, and the pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then i think we have to act. and we will take them out. we will kill bin laden, crush al qaeda. that has to be the biggest national security priority. >> that's the money sound byte there. if they are unable or unwilling, we will do the job and take out the terrorist. whether osama bin laden or anybody else for that matter. have you ever heard a candidate talk like that then act on active intelligence as president obama did? another fact, fact number five, osama bin laden is dead. now, let's just get the record straight here, folks. this is all about 2012. the republicans are out there creating this narrative. what we are seeing now is a democratic president starting to get the upper hand on national security.
he was out on the campaign trail. he said this is the plan we are going to use to take down the terrorists. he's increased the drone strikes. he's gotten the number one dude, osama bin laden and things are rolling good for america now. the republicans, you know what they love to do? they love to make you think they are tougher and stronger and have a greater resolve and they are far more patriotic and the democrats. not this time, boys. ain't gonna work. we have the facts on our side this time. here is another fact that is driving these republicans absolutely crazy. the number is, pew research center, 56% of americans approve of president obama's job approval right now. 38% disapprove. it's a nine-point swing from last month in the president's highest approval rating since june, 2009.
the moral high ground is important. americans are not having to believe a campaign speech, they have seeing a strategy being played out big time. what are the republicans doing? they are out in full force. we played the tape for you. the sound machine is out and about. they want you to think it's all about illegal activity, interrogations. it is not. this country is not only taking down more terrorists under the obama administration, this country is gaining the moral high ground. we are not going to put out a death picture. we are not going to throw somebody into the ocean. no. it's been done with respect and
with the traditions of the religion. does president obama get any credit for that? no. we have senator graham down in south carolina questioning how this whole thing came down. folks, when it comes to national security, this killing of osama bin laden is the republicans water loom on national security. they don't have the upper hand. their plan didn't work for all those years. they did the illegal activity and it doesn't work. it was president obama and the democrats who supported this strategy that was well played out on the campaign trail and is an act, big time and we are getting results. we are not doing it through enhanced interrogations. we are just as safe tonight as we have ever been. joining us now is matthew alexander, a former military interrogator who tracked down senior al qaeda leaders in iraqi. the author of "kill or capture." i want to play this soundbyte, first. leon panetta told brian williams information did come from enhanced interrogation. here it is. >> i think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced
interrogation techniques against the detainees. i'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches, i think is always going to be an open question. >> so finer point, one final time, enhanced interrogation technique, which is a handy euphemism including water boarding? >> that's correct. >> now, there's integrity for you. the president's administration is not going to lie to the american people about techniques that were used. but, is it the moral high ground and are conservatives right about water boarding? matthew alexander, that's your first question tonight. thanks for joining us. are they correct about water boarding? >> no, they are not correct. what a lot of people are
forgetting is what professional interrogators have been saying all along, when you use techniques like water boarding, you get the bare minimum about of information out of a detainee. that minimum about of information is going to lack the details you need to execute a mission to take out a target. the type of information you need to take out a target isn't a nickname of a courier. it's who is that courier, how do we find him? and how do we know when he's meeting with the target. in this case, bin laden. it took seven years to go from water boarding of to how we found him. someone very similar to ka hid, he provided the name and how we would know when he would meet with him and allowed us to go from cooperation to the death in about six weeks. >> tell us about this breaking report in the new york times. what do you know about it?
>> we don't know much about his interrogations. in reports outside "the new york times" conflict with "the new york times" information. i always take the information that comes out after these types of events with a grain of salt. usually half of what we hear is incorrect. it will take time to flush out the whole story. what is clear is the information came from several sources. it was pieced together by analysts and the real heroes in this are intelligence collectors, interrogators. >> the conservatives are saying ksm served up the name and "the new york times" is reporting that's not the case, it came from the courier. so, there's a lot of misinformation, a lot of cross information going on out there.
who do we believe? >> ed, if water boarding that happened seven to eight years ago just now led us to bin laden and that's the mesh of success, we are in a lot of trouble. it's not an e vektive technique. compare it to, you know, my team in iraq, i went out on raids. our time requirement was ten to 15 minutes to get info. back at a prison, our standard was two to three days to get info to act on. maybe a couple weeks or a few weeks in other cases. eight or nine years to get information and consider that valuable, it's not. >> how do you counter this soundbyte. this is peter king. he says water board sg a moral
imperative. here it is. >> i believe water boarding is a moral imperative. september 10th, 2001, we knew he was going to kill thousands of americans. we didn't know when or where. are we saying now we wouldn't hold his head under water to save 3,000 lives? >> does that argument hold up? >> not with me. it goes against my oath of office. mine is to defend the constitution of the united states. there's nuting in there about saving lives. when did america go from being a country that stands for principles like liberty, freedom and justice to one that stands for security above all else. numerous leaders going back to the revolutionary war, george washington, abraham lincoln, generals, all said we cannot use torture. it violates american principals, regardless of if it would or
would not keep us safe. >> be clear here, what congressman peter king said there, is that fact or his opinion that water boarding saves lives? >> it's neither fact or his opinion. it's fiction. to say it saved lives excludes any inclusion of a long-term negative effect. as i saw in iraq firsthand, the number one reason they gave for coming to fight is because of our torture and abuse of muslim prisoners and detainees. the foreign fighters made up the majority of suicide bombers. they killed hundreds, if not thousands of american soldiers. you cannot say water boarding kept america safe. >> you saw firsthand the reaction to water boarding and torture. it motivated to the point it made that fight tougher and the task harder. >> the department of defense
tracked those statistics. it's a fact water boarding was al qaeda's number one recruiting tool. >> moving forward, are you confident we are going to be able to take out al qaeda and use the moral high ground as president obama said his administration is going to do? i think it's really profoundly pointed out with the interview with brian williams and leon panetta, they are not lying about it. water boarding was used and some information came from it. moving forward, they are not going to do it. the american people want to know, what's the best thing to do? >> right. no interrogator who knows what they are talking about is not going to say torture doesn't
work. define works. consider the long-term negative consequences of using it. how does it help us? it doesn't. it helps them to recruit new members. what you can say is it violates the principles this country was founded upon. our country is safer than it ever has been because we are started to regain that moral high ground that you talked about. >> matthew alexander, great to have you with us. get your cell phones out. tonight's question, do you want to see the dead osama bin laden picture? text a for yes, b for no. this is a big conversation in america as to whether the picture should be released or not. the white house says it will eventually be released. text 62239 or go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. we'll talk more about this and i'll be back with you with results later on in the show.
big issues coming up on weather we should give billions of dollars to pakistan and whether or not this country should be in afghanistan. robert and jeremy join me, coming up. don't let the republican tough talk and swagger fool you a bit. the party that gets the job done time and time again, by proof, by numbers, it's the democrats. we'll be right back. olate truffe and vanilla creme? mmm. -mmm. -mmm. [ female announcer ] hard to say really. new caltrate soft chews, we put the yum in calcium.
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thanks for staying with us here on "the ed show" on msnbc. the last 48 hours raised important questions across the country like this one. why are we sending billions of dollars of aid to pakistan when they had no part in helping us find and kill osama bin laden? the united states spent $28 billion, sent it to pakistan since 2001. now, they are complaining. they put out an official statement the united states carried out this operation without prior information oroutization f the government of pakistan. as for afghanistan, the president, well, he may have the political capital he needs to persuade the american people his time line for afghanistan, well, he might need more time. and it might be the correct
thing to do in the opinion of the american people because of the successful operation. president obama's approval rating spiked in the latest poll, particularly in national defense. 69% approve of the handling, up 13 points from last month. 60% approve of his handling of afghanistan. this is what he said on sunday night. >> the death of bin laden marks the most significant achievement to date in the effort to defeat al qaeda. his death does not mark the end of our effort. there's no doubt al qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. we must and will remain individual lent at home and abroad. >> let's bring in documentary film maker, robert greenwald. the national security correspondent, jeremy scahill.
jeremy, we'll start with you here. before we send one more dime to pakistan, do we need a commitment with them, we are not going to have a problem taking out terrorists in their country? >> i don't think we are going to get that promise. we send them fighter bombers, helicopters, we train their military. we have our special operations forces embedded with them going into the frontier on a regular basis. if we stop working with them, we have to get out of afghanistan and we have to get out quick. the majority of the military supplies in afghanistan come in through pakistan. they go through train or truck, then into afghanistan. if you shut off that valve, you
shut down the war in afghanistan. we need to rethink the whole policy. right now, u.s. policy in afghanistan is dependent upon pakistan. they had a chess game where osama bin laden was a pawn they were holding and using against us. the other is we need them to get supplies to pakistan. it's very high stakes. it's like fifth dimensional chess. >> robert, you have wanted to get out of afghanistan and documents what we have done in that country and how it cost billions of dollars. i'm curious on your opinion of the most recent dealings of pakistan and the billions of dollars we spend there. where do you stand on that? >> to the extent we continue support, corrupt regimes and send them billions of dollars, regimes without the popular support of the people, not committed to the values we americans believe in.
the only reason we have been doing it is a narrow notion started by the bush administration that everything was about terrorism. it hurt our values and actually hurt our security in deep ways. we have alienated large countries. we are unpopular in afghanistan. why? the billions have gone to a corrupt regime to a profoundly political problem. >> i want to ask both of you, doesn't president obama have more credibility on national security issues in fighting terrorism in the wake of taking down osama bin laden? it would seem to me, the president, if he had to make the case for more money that he might get the support. what do you think? >> i do not think -- i think he has more credibility, but i do not think he would get the support if he asked for more money. if you went around the country, i would not imagine you can find rational human beings saying
yes, we are spending $2 billion a week in afghanistan, spend more. it's going to make us officer. it's not. people know it instinctively and people are smart about it. it's never helped our security. i don't think obama or a magician or anybody could convince us of that. you have seen the opinion polls. it's a radical continued shift including independents and republicans. >> it's a myth president obama is a dove. he uses his force, joint operations command. the guys that killed osama bin laden, he is using them in yemen and somalia. he's hitting harder according to to special opes guys. the problem is we are using our elite soldiers to kill them and innocent civilians. we are giving them a reason to want to fight us. we need to rethink this strategy. on the issue you are talking about, dick cheney and those
guys have ph.d.s. they took us into iraq and allocated the best forces we have to a war that was based on lies. >> is this most recent development a step for us to get out of afghanistan? is it now a turn, a time for us to pivot as a country? >> it should be a moment where the president can say i stated from the beginning the goal was to dismantle and disrupt the network. we chopped the head off. there are less than 50 al qaeda operatives there. it is time to get out of afghanistan. i's hurting the national security to stay there. >> robert, your thoughts on that. is this a time to pivot? >> we have an extraordinary opportunity in front of us. we have launch a survey, we are doing videos on it. i agree with jeremy on this. everybody who cares about war and ending the wars and cares about our country, this is a time to get active, call, write,
visit and tell people now, now, now, get the troops out. >> how do we know al qaeda is not going to reestablish itself? >> let me say something, you are never going to destroy terrorism around the world or every person that affiliates themselves. yemen, there are people that affiliate themselves. the question is, how do you approach this. if you believe you can kill your way to peace, you are wrong. you are going to open the door for massive blow back. reengage with the muslim and arab world in a way that's consistent with the revolutions we have seen around the world. it's not going to happen. >> robert, do you think president obama wants to get out of afghanistan and that he believes we can get out and not have the threat that we have now? >> well, i'm not a mind reader or a psychologist but i want to
believe that. i hope as smart as he is -- k sit's going to be pivotal for him politically, is it not? >> it is policically, morally and in terms of his legacy. it's hard to imagine he's not thinking about how to get out, deescalate and come up with a sensible policy around security that's not about invaing occupying. the single biggest reason for the taliban is our occupying that country. >> great to have you both with us tonight. appreciate your insight. >> everybody is talking about whether the death photo of osama bin laden should be released. what leon panetta said to brian williams. donald trump for president? i don't think so. the demander in chief did the jokes saturday night. we'll be right back.
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show." thanks for watching tonight. now that osama bin laden has been killed, the big conversation in america and the issue is whether the administration should release the death photo. here is what leon panetta had to say about that. >> the government, obviously, has been talking about how best to do this. i don't think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public. i have seen the photographs. we have analyzed them and there's no question it's bin laden. there's no questions there were concerned and questions debated about exactly the impact the photos would have. the bottom line is we got bin laden. i think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill
him. >> he says i think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him. well, look, in our culture, here in america, we see worse stuff on tv, don't we? we see worse stuff at the movies. hollywood shows tough pictures all the time. war, of course, we have had our share of it. we are not going to be exposed to anything we really haven't seen before. but we are in this high stakes game of getting along with everybody across the globe. it could be offensive to other cultures. that's the tight rope the united states government is walking now. we could say what's the big deal. let's see the photo. we don't like the guy anyway. he killed 3,000 people. we want proof of it. other cultures could be turned off by it. let's bring in the executive director of c.a.i.r., zahra billoo. i appreciate your time. thanks for being with us.
>> the obama administration is concerned about the reaction if the photo of osama bin laden is released. how do you feel about it? >> thanks for having me on, ed. it's a tight rope. it's a fine line. there are a lot of people in the arab and muslim world. people have doubts about whether or not he's captured and killed. maybe it's not true and he is among them. there's an immediate need for proof, at the same time, it needs to be done with a level of humanity, right? so in the same way pictures were released of saddam's son several years ago to prove they were killed, this isn't a new question, but a difficult one. >> do you think the muslim world wants to see the picture?
>> i think there are people in the muslim world, clearly i can't speak of all of them. there are people who want to know whether or not it's real. there have been several scares telling us he's passed away. people need to see proof. again, the way we do it is key to ensure we don't inflame his supporters. one of the things on everyone's mind is the test of our humanity is how we treat the worst of us. i think we all agree, osama bin laden is the worst of us. how do we treat him post death. >> he represented a fraction of those in the culture. he was not the mainstream. >> correct. >> he was an extremist. he was a murderer. is it a bridge too far to say there might be a lot of muslims in this country that don't -- in this world, that do not want conspiracy theories and put it to rest once and for all? this is part of the process we have to accept. your thoughts on that. >> absolutely. muslims and those who aren't want to see the conspiracy theories put to rest.
we want to see america move on from this one dark chapter in our history. there are always going to be people who find a method of putting out conspiracies, particularly in an era where photo shop were available. if we released the pictures proving to those who believe them, there will be detractors. >> is there a way to do this? a picture is a thousand words. is there a special manner in which it should be handled within the culture where it would not be offensive? how could a picture of a man with half his head blown off not be offensive to some? >> i'm not sure. it would be worthwhile to see how the pictures were released.
maybe compare the method that was used at that time and keep a fine line of saying we are only doing this to prove the claim we captured him. this isn't something we are doing to celebrate or deface the community or the culture. i think people want proof, particularly in the village to know they, too, can move on. >> in the american islamic community, can you give us a sense of how this has affected the islamic community in this country? is this a good thing? is it something that the islamic community was looking forward to happening? how would you judge their response? >> i think that, you know, sort of the best way to describe it was there was a very heavy sigh of relief when we heard the news. it indicated hopefully we were making progress. these past ten years and everything that we have seen in
the past ten years from the wars abroad to civil liberties and all the violent murders this man was responsible for came to an end. there's a lot of work that needs to be done to rebuild over the past ten years and ensure he doesn't have people following after him and, you know, following in his reign. there's a lot of work that needs to be done. people are somber, reflective and grateful. >> zahra billoo, thanks for joining us. while the president was making decisions behind the scenes, he had time to rip into the donald. don't miss it. stay with us.
back at it here on "the ed show." the news of bin laden's death sunday night caught america and the world by surprise. it also cut off the last ten minutes of "celebrity apprentice." that wasn't planned. the president had time to lay into the donald saturday night. the donald was not amused. >> no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the donald.
now, he can get back to focusing on what matters, like did we fake the moon landing. what really happened in rozwell? and where are biggie and tupak? say what you will about mr. trump. he would bring some change to the white house. let's see what we got up there. obviously, we all know about your credentials and breath of experience. for example, seriously, just recently in an episode of "celebrity apprentice" at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from omaha steaks.
there was a lot of blame to go around. but, you mr. trump recognized the real problem was lack of leadership. ultimately, you didn't blame little john or meat loaf, you fired gary. these are the kind of decisions that keep me up at night. >> we did a radio town hall down in ashville, north carolina today. every time i talk about donald trump, it brought the house down. if you do run for president, you have to win north carolina. you might want to get down and start smooching those people. right now, they think you are a joke. the president had you right where you belong. republicans would like you to believe they are tough on national security. the facts tell us something different. that is next. ♪
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finally tonight, republicans they have always loved to run on national security issues. in fact, they think they have a lock on the market when they are campaigning. they love to paint the democrat in charge. here is the lathest gop strategy, president obama is leading from behind. it got the bill crystal standard seal of approval. look at this week's cover. bad timing, no doubt about it. the truth of the matter, the democrats have been the party of get 'er done. timothy mcveigh. he ordered bombings. he sent troops to haiti.
meanwhile, george w. bush gave up looking for america's most wanted terrorist. >> you know, again, i don't know where he is. i repeat what i said, i truly am not that concerned about him. >> in fact, bush missed an opportunity to get him in december, 2001. he sent afghan troops instead of american forces to get to job done. they dismantled the cias bin laden unit. president obama made the decision to resurrect it. president obama hadley on panetta make the pursuit of the terrorist the number one mission. it was president obama who ordered a precise make or break raid of bin laden's compound. it was president obama who got the job done.
joining me now is former pennsylvania congressman and the admiral of the navy, joe sestak. is this a big step forward of erasing the imagery out there that wishy washy liberals just don't get the job done on national security? >> i think it is an important step. it's an important step for the nation. when i was running for congress, i used to say all the time, the democrats have a deficit in owning national security credentials since the vietnam war. i worked for president clinton. i sat in the situation room. i watched the briefing as we were about to send an aircraft carrier and missions to defend north korea. we told them if they pulled the plutonium rods out, it's an act of war. then they stopped. no, i think this is important
for our nation. the president, it was a gutsy move. he made it and did it well. i understand the politics of it. the democrats say no, we care and we'll do the right we response for this nation's security. >> i want to take a look at the picture in the situation room in the white house that we showed on the screen there. admiral, you have been in these situations. >> i have. >> this is as real as it gets, is it not? look at the secretary of state, hillary clinton. president obama in an overpowering position. he's positioned to say hey, i'm just one of the team here. what is your impression of the picture here? >> my impression is this is a leader who knew how to pick a very good team. he wasn't afraid to have people in there like rivals. this is one that i think you said earlier in the broadcast, a
very important word has a strategy that it tries to execute as a team. that's what you see in the situation room. do they care? did they know they absolutely put, you know, in a sense our men and women out there and something that could go drastically wrong but it needed to be done. then they knew, as they watched it, as the helicopter went down, it could go wrong for our nation. they knew they made the right decision and it came through. it's an excellent picture there. look, i strongly believe that the point you are making is very important. not for the democratic party, for the nation. i watched both parties. sometimes, individuals who haven't served in the military think it's about testosterone. it isn't. it's about knowing and having a strategy to achieve the goal you know you have to do. this president, as you said earlier, did it with regard to getting bin laden.
i give the credit also to president bush for having set up some of the things along the way. he increased the effort to get this man and got him. >> admiral i want to talk about s.e.a.l. team six. they are tough dudes. they are experts in marshall arts, they are talented in so many ways, sharp shooters, bomb experts. i remember growing up, my dad took me to virginia beach. they would have to swim five miles in the high seas to shore in their training. it was amazing to see. they used to have the town come out and watch them train. they are phenomenal americans. i mean, if you could take a moment here tonight, what do you think it was like on that helicopter coming back from the compound after mission accomplished?
>> professionalism on the way in without par. on the way back, sense that this was done for america. these are the most patriotic men you can have. more than that. they are people that don't -- you don't apply to get the job, they are chosen for the job. there's not a more elite moment they could have had than when they came back. joe sestak, a pleasure. tonight, i ask, do you want to see the dead osama bin laden picture? 67% of you say yes. 33% of you say no. that's theed show. i'm ed schultz. my radio show starts tomorrow on serious xm, 127 from noon to 3:00. i want to thank the folks in ashville. we had a great time today. for more information, check out ed .msnbc.com. see you pack here tomorrow night.